Publications

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Published Date: 
Thursday, March 2, 2017
resource Type: 
Working paper series
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UNNExT Brief No. 19, Electronic Phytosanitary Certificates for Agricultural Commodities in Malaysia. Electronic certification is an important measure for facilitating agri-food trade. Complex global supply chains trade, advances in modes of transportation and increased trade volumes at entry points in the Asia Pacific countries has enhanced the importance of electronic certification (or e-Cert). Consequently, an increasing number of countries are moving away from the paper-based documentation system. Implementation of e-Cert can help reduce forgery, increase transparency and enhance predictability in trade in agri-food products, and facilitate faster clearance at the entry points. This brief presents the Malaysian experience in implementing an electronic phytosanitary certification system. 

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Published Date: 
Tuesday, February 28, 2017
resource Type: 
Journals
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The Asia-Pacific Development Journal is published twice a year by the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP). Its primary objective is to provide a medium for the exchange of knowledge, experiences, ideas, information and data on various aspects of economic and social development in the Asia-Pacific region. The emphasis of the Journal is on the publication of empirically based, policy-oriented articles in the areas of development macroeconomics; reduction of poverty and mitigation of inequalities; and social cohesion and environment sustainability, with a particular focus on countries with special needs, such as the least developed countries, landlocked developing countries, and small island developing States.
This special issue contains six selected papers, developed as a spin-off of the discussions at the second North-East Asia Development Cooperation Forum, held in Tokyo on 31 October and 1 November 2015. The Forum is an initiative of ESCAP in which the Subregional Office of East and North-East Asia plays a catalytic role in bringing together researchers and practitioners of development cooperation in the four North-East Asian countries, China, Japan, the Republic of Korea and the Russian Federation, to discuss subregional cooperation and to strengthen the effectiveness of subregion-wide initiatives. These countries are also major contributors of development assistance-related capacity-building activities. Specifically, the China International Development Research Network (CIDRN), the Japan Society for International Development (JASID), the Korea Association of International Development and Cooperation (KAIDEC), and the Russian Association of Experts in International Development Assistance are partnering with ESCAP in this initiative. Since the first Forum in 2014, which was held in Seoul and organized in collaboration with KAIDEC, these associations have increasingly developed a strong sense of partnership, leading to this special issue as a joint product of the partners. The papers contained in this issue are submitted by the respective associations. The 2015 Forum, which was co-hosted by the ESCAP Subregional Office of East and North-East Asia, JASID and the JICA Research Institute, focused on development cooperation among North-East Asian countries as a key to the means of implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. We express our sincere appreciation for the generous support extended by the JICA Research Institute for the success of the Forum.

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Published Date: 
Wednesday, February 15, 2017
resource Type: 
Working paper series
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Information and communications technology (ICT) has been the driving force behind game-changing innovations and socioeconomic transformations, which are shaping our economy and society at multiple levels. New technological advancements, such as artificial intelligence, have been transforming the manufacturing and service sectors, and have ushered a plethora of innovations, which are changing the way people interact, work and live. ICT-enabled financial infrastructure, smart grids, disaster risk management, intelligent transport system and trade facilitation are just some of the examples that have become the critical backbone of our economy and society, built on the extensive, ubiquitous and seamless broadband connectivity. At another level, ICT plays a catalytic role in modernizing government services, and enhancing the quality of interactions with businesses and citizens, while enabling a whole range of socioeconomic applications and services. In this context, ICT has been increasingly recognized as an indispensable development enabler that contributes to and accelerates the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

In particular, broadband infrastructure development has gained global attention for its unique role in promoting universal, sustainable, ubiquitous and meaningful access to ICTs and associated socioeconomic benefits. Despite the potential, however, the digital divide— measured by fixed broadband subscription—is evidenced as widening between developed and developing countries, in particular low-income countries in Asia and the Pacific. According to a study conducted by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), 20 countries in the region have not made progress in expanding fixed broadband in the past 15 years. An intensified fixed broadband concentration in East Asia also demonstrated a significant sub-regional broadband divide.

Against this background, this working paper aims to examine the effect of open international gateways on broadband connectivity markets, for the ultimate objective of increasing affordability, availability and resilience of broadband networks in the region. International gateways provide access to international terrestrial, submarine and satellite systems and manage incoming and outgoing international voice and data traffic. Considering the fact that international gateways establish interconnections between domestic and international networks and determine the affordability of broadband access, an enabling regulation on international gateways is an essential instrument in increasing broadband affordability and expanding access. International gateways also play a critical role in addressing potential bottlenecks in data traffic that can have significant repercussions on downstream national markets.

This working paper has been written in support of the Asia-Pacific Information Superhighway (AP-IS), a regional broadband connectivity initiative. It aims to be a catalyst to develop seamless regional broadband networks, improve their affordability, reliance, resilience and coverage, and thereby narrow the broadband divide in the region. By developing an enabling Internet ecosystem, the initiative will stimulate the development of the digital economy and help accelerate the achievement of SDGs. The findings and recommendations emanating from this report will contribute to the AP-IS implementation in the area of developing physical ICT infrastructure, and improving Internet traffic and network management.

It is hoped that these findings will stimulate discussions among policy- and decision-makers, private sector, academia and think tanks on how regional broadband connectivity could be shaped to achieve inclusive broadband and develop digital economy for the achievement of SDGs. Subsequently, it is anticipated that concrete policy and regulatory updates, financing and investment requirements, and implementation modalities would emerge from the discussions and pave the way to realize the vision of the AP-IS.

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Published Date: 
Thursday, February 2, 2017
resource Type: 
Books
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International trade and investment have enabled many countries in the Asia-Pacific region to boost economic growth and have lifted millions out of poverty. As the Asia-Pacific region continues to thrive economically, trade and investment barriers are being dissolved and eliminated. As countries begin to depend on each other more, trade policy is gradually becoming a useful measure to achieve inclusive and sustainable development. Trade and investment are linked to the environment (e,g., causing environmental degradation, which can hinder trade in environmentally-friendly goods and technologies) and social issues (e.g., gender, employment, reducing poverty); hence, their impacts are also multi-dimensional. It has now been recognized that sustainable production and consumption are essential for sustainable development. Countries realize that they are not able to approach global and regional problems on their own and require cooperation, both at the level of government and business. As a result, the region has been active in concluding regional cooperation frameworks which routinely are centered on trade and investment. In the meantime, business has forged regional integration through the formation of regional value chains and production networks while governments have paved the way for the expansion of such production networks through the formation of regional trade agreements and economic partnerships. Thus, with regard to economic integration the Asia Pacific Trade Agreement (APTA), which is the oldest preferential trade agreement in the region with a large consumer base, can play an important role in filling this gap.

Given a slow progress in the multilateral negotiations in the WTO, especially when the members have started questioning the utility of the negotiations after 15 years, and a lack of consensus on how to move forward, the regional trade agreements can play a vital role. Even if they pose a challenge to the multilateralism, selected liberalisation of trade and economy in present time can become a building block for future multilateral negotiations. One of the reasons for the surge in these preferential trade agreements is to make binding commitments on WTO-plus and WTO-beyond issues. While there are many agreements that exist in Asia and the Pacific, there is no such attempt to consolidate them in one umbrella framework. Understanding the benefits of the consolidation, one such initiative was started by ESCAP a few years back. The RECI initiate for market integration could well be facilitated by APTA; however, it cannot deliver unless it transforms itself in a new generation agreement. Regional integration and cooperation are also important to meet the 2030 agenda for sustainable development. Instead of wasting resources in discussing a new institutional framework, it would be more effective to use the existing framework and for the Asia-Pacific economies, the APTA provides an existing institutional platform. The cases discussed in this book prepare a ground for the future, and it is expected that all the stakeholders, member States of ESCAP, private sector as well as researchers would benefit from this publication on APTA: South-South Regional Integration and Sustainable Development.

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Published Date: 
Monday, January 16, 2017
resource Type: 
Books
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With energy demand in Asia and the Pacific forecast to increase by 60 per cent from 2010 to 2035, access to reliable and adequate energy services will remain a focus for decades to come. Countries in the region need to maximize their potential, improve energy access, increase shares of renewable energy, promote energy efficiency and strengthen cooperation on energy security and connectivity.

As one of the three pillars of the Implementation Support Mechanism for the Asian and Pacific Energy Forum (APEF), the 2016 Regional Trends Report on Energy for Sustainable Development in Asia and the Pacific supports the implementation of the outcomes of the APEF 2013. Development of the 2016 edition follows a similar process to the 2015 Report: consultation with ESCAP Member States for topic selection, case study collection and review; discussion with experts on thematic areas; and engagement of consultants on specific research.

The 2016 Regional Trends Report consists of two parts. Part I (Chapters 2, 3, 4 and 6) discusses emerging energy issues in the global market and Asia-Pacific region and two pre-selected topics by ESCAP member States: (a) transboundary power trade for increasing power sector sustainability and regional connectivity; and (b) developing effective policies for widening access to energy services. Part II (Chapter 5) provides an overview of the implementation of the 15 areas of action, which will contribute to the final review of the outcomes of the APEF 2013 and preparation for the second APEF, to be held in Tonga in 2018.

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Published Date: 
Thursday, January 5, 2017
resource Type: 
Working paper series
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In the past few decades rapid economic growth in emerging Asia has led to a critical increase of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, especially in China, which has now become one of the biggest GHG emitting countries in the world. To decouple economic growth from negative environmental impact, renewable energy sources and associated new technologies have emerged. Transition to renewable energy sources, however, requires a massive investment from various financial sources. In this sense, this paper particularly focuses on greenfield foreign direct investment (FDI) as one of the most efficient and practical ways to enhance environmental sustainability through the development of the renewable energy sector beyond its obvious contribution to finance capital for sustainable development. FDI does not only enable the transfer of capital but also facilitates the transfer of technology and expertise to boost the use of renewable energy from multinational corporations (MNCs) to host countries of FDI and local companies. FDI also contributes to the host country’s economy through the creation of direct, indirect and inclusive jobs in the low-carbon and resource-efficient sectors, also known as “green jobs”. In the world, as well as in emerging Asia such as ASEAN member States, China and India, the creation of new jobs related to conventional energy sources, such as oil, natural gas and coal, has massively decreased since 2010 while green jobs have gradually increased over the same period, especially in the biomass, solar and wind sectors. Targeted policy interventions would promote and facilitate trade and investment in the renewable energy sector and the deployment of renewable energy and therefore foster job creation. The effectiveness of such policies is sensitive to good public governance, strong trade and investment facilitation and well-designed economic incentives. For example, the feed-in-tariff (FIT) scheme has been one of the most widely adopted subsidy-like policies to spur the uptake of indigenous renewable energy for the last two decades, and the relatively recent adoption of the scheme in five out of the 10 ASEAN member States, as well as in China and India, has contributed to the rapid development of solar and wind energy markets.

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Published Date: 
Thursday, December 29, 2016
resource Type: 
Journals
Abstract: 

The Asia-Pacific Development Journal is published twice a year by the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific.

Its primary objective is to provide a medium for the exchange of knowledge, experience, ideas, information and data on all aspects of economic and social development in the Asian and Pacific region. The emphasis of the Journal is on the publication of empirically based, policy-oriented articles in the areas of poverty alleviation, emerging social issues and managing globalization.

Original articles analysing issues and problems relevant to the region from the above perspective are welcomed for publication in the Journal. The articles should have a strong emphasis on the policy implications flowing from the analysis. Analytical book reviews will also be considered for publication.

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Published Date: 
Monday, December 19, 2016
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The Transport and Communications Bulletin for Asia and the Pacific is a peer-reviewed journal published once a year by the Transport Division (TD) of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP). The main objectives of the Bulletin are to provide a medium for the sharing of knowledge, experience, ideas, policy options and information on the development of transport infrastructure and services in the Asia-Pacific region; to stimulate policy-oriented research; and to increase awareness of transport policy issues and responses.

The current issue focuses on the theme of “Sustainable Rural Access”. The five papers included in this issue consider different interesting aspects of the subject.

Article 1. Provision of rural transport services: user needs, practical constraints and policy issues by Paul Starkey;

Article 2. Impacts of rural roads on poverty and equity by Niklas Sieber and Heather Allen;

Article 3. Impacts of rural accessibility on women empowerment: The case of Southwest Bangladesh by Saleh Ahmed and Kh Md Nahiduzzaman;

Article 4. Financing rural transport services: implications for the Asia-Pacific region by John Hine, Cornie Huizenga and Karl Peet;

Article 5. The dissemination and embedment of applied rural transport research by J.R. Cook, L. Sampson, P. Starkey and C. Visser.

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Published Date: 
Friday, December 2, 2016
resource Type: 
Books
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This publication seeks to support policymakers in promoting accessibility at a policy and practical level. It contains information on relevant global and regional mandates that support and promote disability-inclusive development and accessibility, with a view to demonstrate the multi-faceted value of focusing on disability and accessibility policies to achieve broader development goals. Readers will learn about the core concepts of disability and accessibility, and be empowered with knowledge on standards, tools and means of promoting accessibility.

Furthermore, this publication will outline and analyse examples of good practices of accessibility identified in Asia and the Pacific. The majority of the good practices featured in this publication were initially discussed at two international and multi-stakeholder workshops that took place in 2014 and 2015, with a few additional examples drawn from Pacific island member States. The selection of practices for this publication is based on their embodiment of the principles of accessibility, demonstrated success, measurable impact on the community, and their adaptable and replicable nature.

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Published Date: 
Thursday, December 1, 2016
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Despite sluggish global growth, economic conditions in the Asia-Pacific region have somewhat stabilized in 2016 on the back of resilient domestic demand and an easing of financial conditions. However, labour market prospects seem weak while income inequality has been on the rise. Going forward, sustaining the region’s dynamism against weak external demand will require parallel progress on both productivity and inclusiveness fronts, supported by proactive fiscal policy and good governance.

Economic conditions have somewhat stabilized in 2016 and the outlook for 2017 is broadly stable, following a period of downward revisions to the growth forecast. Thanks to resilient domestic demand and policy support, the Asia-Pacific region is growing at a steady pace despite global growth and trade reaching the lowest point since the global financial crisis of 2008-09. A projected improvement in the region’s growth in 2017 is based on China’s rebalancing-led moderation being offset by a return to positive growth in the Russian Federation, sustained high growth in South Asia supported by moderate inflation, and increased public investment in South-East Asia and the Pacific.

While low inflation and an easing in financial conditions have allowed monetary authorities to lower policy rates, a prudent stance is needed given the partial recovery in global oil prices and expected further hikes in the US federal funds rate, especially for countries with high private debt and currency exposures. Despite the recent calm, bouts of financial volatility can re-emerge given the uncertain external environment, including the Brexit negotiations in Europe, and vulnerabilities on the domestic front, such as in corporate and bank balance sheets. Deleveraging and restructuring efforts in countries such as China and India should contribute to enhanced financial stability and higher productivity.

While the region continues to lead global growth, growth has not translated into commensurate increases in decent jobs, which has also contributed to heightened income inequality. Labour market prospects seem weak in a number of countries, with relatively slow employment growth and a persistently high share of vulnerable employment. As the region undergoes further structural transformation, efforts to lift productivity and innovation should be matched by measures to enhance worker skills and social protection. Moreover, productivity gains derived from technological progress should be passed on to society through higher wages and cheaper goods and services.

Fiscal policy can play a critical role in this regard. Public investments in infrastructure and research and development can support long-term growth and ‘crowd in’ private investment, while more progressive fiscal policies can strengthen domestic demand. Such measures would help sustain the region’s dynamism in the coming years when external demand is expected to remain subdued. However, this will require good governance, as reflected inter alia in the effectiveness and integrity of public institutions. Good governance can enhance investment prospects, productivity and innovation, while accelerating poverty reduction and mitigating inequalities, as highlighted further in the forthcoming Survey 2017.

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